Islanders with Grit Built the Co-op
Before OPALCO was founded in 1937, islanders made do with generators, Delco battery plants and very few modern conveniences. A group of 12 Orcas men heard about the Rural Electrification Administration (REA) and went farm to farm, door to door to try and convince their neighbors that bringing electricity to the island would make their lives better. The Co-op was started with a loan from the REA and the cost to join was set at five dollars. A membership still costs five dollars today, and the Co-op now provides power to 20 islands with a reliability rate of greater than 99%. The Co-op is still owned and operated by the islanders who depend on it to power their lives.